Liberal Arts and Engineering Studies

Catalog Home

https://laes.calpoly.edu
laes@calpoly.edu

Program Co-Director: David D. Gillette
Phone: 805.756.2331
ddgillet@calpoly.edu

Program Co-Director: Michael L. Haungs
Phone: 805.756.5531
mhaungs@calpoly.edu

Academic Programs

Program name Program type
Liberal Arts & Engineering Studies BS

The Liberal Arts and Engineering Studies (LAES) degree is jointly offered by the colleges of Liberal Arts and Engineering. This program prepares students for a wide range of innovative careers in emerging professional fields that combine skills and interests in the arts, technology and culture, and also prepares them for further study in graduate school. This program, which only accepts students as internal transfers after the first year, is open to all students at Cal Poly. This program is not intended to be an ABET-accredited engineering program. 

Undergraduate Program

BS Liberal Arts and Engineering Studies

The curriculum allows Liberal Arts and Engineering Studies students, in collaboration with students from all other Cal Poly majors, to participate in development teams working on national and international technology and cultural projects. To further prepare students for work with diverse teams that include participants from across the globe, the program strongly encourages students to spend three to six months studying and/or working abroad.

The BS in Liberal Arts and Engineering Studies can lead to careers in fields such as:

  • Animatronics 
  • Audio Engineering
  • Digital Media Production and Management
  • Digital Publishing
  • Environmental Technology Education
  • Film and Television Production
  • Game Design
  • Government Policy Making / Analysis
  • International Technology Management
  • STEM Education in School and Out-of-School Contexts
  • Sustainable Community Development
  • Technical Communications
  • Technology Services and Management
  • Web Design

Program Learning Objectives

Graduates of the Liberal Arts and Engineering Studies program receive a solid foundation in engineering and scientific principles, as well as a cultural appreciation that supports them in careers requiring significant levels of technical and cultural fluency. To support these goals, the primary learning objectives are to:

  1. Think critically and creatively in the process of solving techno-social problems considering philosophical, aesthetic and expressive concerns.
  2. Communicate effectively through a variety of media in diverse, multicultural perspectives and facilitate communication between technical and non-technical collaborators.
  3. Use mathematics, science, and engineering principles to produce solutions to problems within the student's Liberal Arts and Engineering concentrations.
  4. Function effectively as a member of interdisciplinary or international teams, formulating sustainable solutions to problems at the intersection of technology and society.
  5. Demonstrate ethical and professional responsibilities associated with the creation, use and integration of technology.
  6. Serve as informed and responsible citizens in a global culture and remain involved with learning and helping society improve.

Degree Requirements and Curriculum

In addition to the program requirements listed on this page, students must also satisfy requirements outlined in more detail in the Minimum Requirements for Graduation section of this catalog, including:

  • 60 units of upper-division courses
  • 2.0 GPA
  • Graduation Writing Requirement (GWR)
  • U.S. Cultural Pluralism (USCP)

Note: No Major, Support or Concentration courses may be selected as credit/no credit.

MAJOR COURSES
CHEM 124General Chemistry for Physical Science and Engineering I (B1 & B3) 14
ENGL 149Technical Writing for Engineers (A3) 14
LAES 301Project-Based Learning in Liberal Arts and Engineering Studies4
LAES 302Advanced Project-Based Learning in Liberal Arts and Engineering Studies4
LAES 461Senior Project in Liberal Arts and Engineering Studies4
LAES 462Capstone Senior Seminar in Liberal Arts and Engineering Studies4
MATH 141Calculus I (B4) 14
MATH 142Calculus II (GE Electives) 14
MATH 143Calculus III4
MATH 241Calculus IV4
MATH 244Linear Analysis I4
PHYS 141General Physics IA4
PHYS 132General Physics II4
PHYS 133General Physics III4
STAT 312Statistical Methods for Engineers (Upper-Division B) 14
or STAT 321 Probability and Statistics for Engineers and Scientists
or STAT 350 Probability and Random Processes for Engineers
Study Abroad or Global Perspectives courses
300-400 level8
Engineering Concentration or Individualized Course of Study 2
Minimum 12 units at 300-400 level34-35
Liberal Arts Concentration or Individualized Course of Study 2
Minimum 12 units at 300-400 level24
GENERAL EDUCATION (GE)
(See GE program requirements below.)52
FREE ELECTIVES
Free Electives 21-2
Total units180

Concentrations

LAES students must select one concentration from Engineering and one from Liberal Arts. Students may choose to follow an individualized course of study in Engineering or/and in the Liberal Arts, constructed in consultation with LAES advisors.

Engineering (select one)

Individualized Course of Study in Engineering

Consists of 34 units of an advisor approved integrated course of study from courses offered in the College of Engineering designed to meet the LAES learning objectives, with at least 12 of the units at the upper-division level. Courses must be drawn from at least two engineering disciplines.


Liberal Arts (select one)

Individualized Course of Study in the Liberal Arts

Consists of 24 units of an advisor approved integrated course of study from courses offered in the College of Liberal Arts designed to meet the LAES learning objectives, with at least 12 of the units at the upper-division level.

Students may complete a minor program selected from pre-approved minors. These minors include any minor offered by the College of Liberal Arts, as well as interdisciplinary, cross-college minors in which students complete a minimum of half of the units in the College of Liberal Arts (e.g., Indigenous Studies in Natural Resources & the Environment; Sustainable Environments).

General Education (GE) Requirements

  • 72 units required, 20 of which are specified in Major and/or Support.
  • If any of the remaining 52 units is used to satisfy a Major or Support requirement, additional units of Free Electives may be needed to complete the total units required for the degree.
  • See the complete GE course listing.
  • A grade of C- or better is required in one course in each of the following GE Areas: A1 (Oral Communication), A2 (Written Communication), A3 (Critical Thinking), and B4 (Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning). 
Area AEnglish Language Communication and Critical Thinking
A1Oral Communication4
A2Written Communication4
A3Critical Thinking (4 units in Major) 10
Area BScientific Inquiry and Quantitative Reasoning
B1Physical Science (4 units in Major) 10
B2Life Science4
B3One lab taken with either a B1 or B2 course
B4Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning (4 units in Major) 10
Upper-Division B (4 units in Major) 10
Area CArts and Humanities
Lower-division courses in Area C must come from three different subject prefixes.
C1Arts: Arts, Cinema, Dance, Music, Theater4
C2Humanities: Literature, Philosophy, Languages other than English4
Lower-Division C Elective - Select a course from either C1 or C24
Upper-Division C4
Area DSocial Sciences
D1American Institutions (Title 5, Section 40404 Requirement)4
D2Lower-Division D - Select courses from two different subject prefixes.8
Upper-Division D4
Area ELifelong Learning and Self-Development
Lower-Division E4
GE Electives in Areas B, C, and D
Select courses from two different areas; may be lower-division or upper-division courses.
GE Electives (4 units in Major plus 4 units in GE) 14
Total units52
How to Read Course Descriptions

LAES Courses

LAES 200. Special Problems for Undergraduates. 1-4 units

Prerequisite: Consent of department head.

Individual investigation, research, studies, or surveys of selected problems. Total credit limited to 8 units, with a maximum of 4 units per quarter.

LAES 270. Selected Topics. 1-4 units

Prerequisite: Open to undergraduate students and consent of instructor.

Directed group study of selected topics. The Class Schedule will list topic selected. Total credit limited to 8 units. 1 to 4 lectures.

LAES 301. Project-Based Learning in Liberal Arts and Engineering Studies. 4 units

Prerequisite: MATH 241; PHYS 132; PHYS 133; and GE Area A with grades of C- or better.

Examination of how to define LAES as a new field of study; analysis of the creative process and team building in theory and in application. Researching, writing, revising and presenting a technical proposal suitable for submission to a national design competition seeking innovative solutions to complex technological/social problems. 2 seminars, 2 activities.

LAES 302. Advanced Project-Based Learning in Liberal Arts and Engineering Studies. 4 units

Prerequisite: LAES 301.

Teamwork and leadership in project-based learning. Students lead, build, and maintain project teams; guide the creative process; and use and evaluate the principles of project management in theory and practice. Development of a technical proposal suitable for submission to a national design competition seeking innovative solutions to complex technological/social problems. 2 seminars, 2 activities.

LAES 400. Special Problems for Advanced Undergraduates. 1-4 units

Prerequisite: Consent of department head.

Individual investigation, research, studies, or surveys of selected problems. Total credit limited to 8 units, with a maximum of 4 units per quarter.

LAES 411. Global Synthesis in Liberal Arts and Engineering Studies. 4 units

Prerequisite: LAES 302; junior standing.

Onsite work with a global technical development and/or design team to develop a project to be completed/expanded upon in LAES 461. Through guided online discussion with the instructor and fellow LAES students, work through intercultural collaboration and design issues, and present works-in-progress. 4 lectures.

LAES 430. Internship. 2-12 units

CR/NC

Prerequisite: Approval of area chair, junior standing, and a CPSLO cumulative GPA of at least 2.5 without being on academic probation.

Work experience in business, industry, government and other areas of student career interest. Periodic written progress reports, final report, and evaluation by work supervisor required. Credit/No Credit grading. Total credit limited to 12 units.

LAES 461. Senior Project in Liberal Arts and Engineering Studies. 4 units

Prerequisite: LAES 302; senior standing; and permission of instructor.

Under faculty supervision, the selection and completion of a senior project, demonstrating an interdisciplinary focus in LAES. With one-on-one format with the instructor, individual or small group work through many iterations of the senior project, with occasional showing of works in small student groups.

LAES 462. Capstone Senior Seminar in Liberal Arts and Engineering Studies. 4 units

Prerequisite: LAES 461.

The final refinement and completion of LAES senior projects and other projects. In a development workshop format, presentation of final versions of works-in-progress to combined faculty and professional review committees throughout the quarter.

LAES 470. Selected Advanced Topics. 1-4 units

Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.

Directed group study of selected topics for advanced students. Open to undergraduate and graduate students. The Class Schedule will list topic selected. Total credit limited to 8 units. 1 to 4 lectures.

LAES 471. Selected Advanced Laboratory. 1-4 units

Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.

Directed group laboratory study of selected topics for advanced students. Open to undergraduate and graduate students. The Class Schedule will list topic selected. Total credit limited to 8 units. 1 to 4 laboratories.

LAES 485. Cooperative Education Experience. 6 units

CR/NC

Prerequisite: Sophomore standing and consent of instructor.

Part-time work experience in business, industry, government, and other areas of student career interest. Positions are paid and usually require relocation and registration in course for two consecutive quarters. Formal report and evaluation by work supervisor required. Major credit limited to 6 units; total credit limited to 18 units. Credit/No Credit grading only.

LAES 495. Cooperative Education Experience. 12 units

CR/NC

Prerequisite: Sophomore standing and consent of instructor.

Full-time work experience in business, industry, government, and other areas of student career interest. Positions are paid and usually require relocation and registration in course for two consecutive quarters. A more fully developed formal report and evaluation by work supervisor required. Credit/No Credit grading only. Major credit limited to 6 units; total credit limited to 24 units.